Socialist Democrat Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York said that the crisis of missing and murdered indigenous women was connected to the proliferation of fossil fuel extraction cites in the United States.
Ocasio-Cortez was speaking at a congressional meeting on "The Neglected Epidemic of Missing BIPOC Women and Girls" when she made the comments on March 3.
"Today, I want to discuss part of this crisis that is all too often overlooked, but whose evidence shows that there's a very meaningful connection here: The correlation between fossil fuel extraction sites and abductions and murders of indigenous women across the United States," Ocasio-Cortez said.
She asked Angel Charley, the executive director of the Coalition to Stop Violence Against Native Women, to explain why they believed the two were related. Charley said that extraction sites would often lead to hastily organized "man camps" of workers in regions with indigenous and other minority women.
"We know that when these man camps or temporary establishments are created, that there is an increase in violence and particularly sexual violence against our Native women," Charley said.
Charley explained that many tribes don't have tribal jurisdiction over the oil workers because they are non-natives.
Ocasio-Cortez then tried to tie the companies' opposition to protesters to the violence against indigenous women.
"Am I right to understand that companies building these oil pipelines are often ruthless in their resistance against protesters and sometimes even encouraging violence against them?" the congresswoman asked.
"That is correct," Charley said.
Republican Rep. Kelly Armstrong of North Dakota rejected the claims made by Ocasio-Cortez in a tweet.
"I try and stay away from your crazy, but not tonight. I have worked with the reservations in North Dakota my entire adult life," tweeted Armstrong with a link to the video of her comments.
"Criminal defense, oil and gas, addiction services, and missing and murdered indigenous women," he added. "Gaslight somewhere else. We are all full here."